Stoops could be on Bowlen's radar

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

An intriguing name has come up as a possible candidate to succeed Mike Shanahan as Broncos coach: Bob Stoops.

Two NFL sources said Tuesday that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has long been enamored with Stoops, the coach of Oklahoma. Bowlen is an Oklahoma alumnus. Stoops brought his staff to Denver's training camp for a day two years ago to observe.

At the very least, Stoops will be on Denver's list of prospective coaches.

There has long been rumors that Stoops could end up in the NFL. Perhaps if the Sooners win the national championship next week, Stoops would find it the right time to bolt to the NFL.

Some people close to the situation believe Bowlen may not be able to come up with the money it would take to bring Bill Cowher to Denver, especially since Shanahan is owed about $20 million over the next three years. Shanahan signed a three-year contract extension in the spring of 2007. Ironically, had Shanahan not be given the contract, his previous deal would now be expired.

Bowlen could probably come up with a financial package appealing to Stoops. The question is, would Stoops be given total control or would be working with a general manager? It would be risky giving a college coach full control.

While this is only the beginning of the process, Stoops could be a name to keep on an eye in the Denver coaching search.